And All We Know For Sure Amidst This Fading Light … We’ll Not Go Home Again

Sometimes I feel like I’m not great with book reviews.  I’m very honest with my opinions, but sometimes I think I may be a little too generous with my ratings.  I’ve been pretty lucky since I haven’t read many books that I would classify as “absolute shit” in the recent past … But sometimes I reread my reviews and think, “How are all of these books worthy of three or four stars?”

However, there are some novels that I’ve finished and thought, “This is one of the best things I’ve ever read!”  Today’s Saturday Book Club post features one of those novels.

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Image courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com.

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

508 pages

Oh my God.  This book was amazing!  It was so dark and twisted, yet so epic and beautiful.

Honestly, I didn’t know what I would think of the book.  I’d read a lot of positive reviews and I knew it had a lot of darker elements (obviously a common theme when I’m choosing books to read), but I felt like it could either be really great or really bad.  Thankfully, it was the former.

The novel centers on a family, the Pipers, living on Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia.  It spans several decades, beginning in the late 1890s and ending sometime in the mid 50s/early 60s (I’m too lazy to do the math based on a character’s age right now).  

Interestingly, none of the characters are overly likable.  They’re all very human and therefore are all quite flawed.  I think the most interesting thing, though, is that I grew to care about most of the characters despite their sometimes horrible behavior.  

The Piper family is steeped in secrets.  Luckily for readers, Ann-Marie MacDonald does a wonderful job unraveling the mysteries.  The story isn’t a thriller by any means, but it was definitely a riveting page-turner.  There were plenty of nights when I was like, “I’ll just read the rest of this chapter and then go to bed,” and then an hour and a half (or more!) and many pages later, I’d have to put it down because I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

One thing I loved about Fall on Your Knees was the character development.  There were a lot of major characters, and MacDonald was able to really bring each of them to life.  Although none of the book was written in first person narrative (with the exception of Katherine’s diary entries), the reader is able to get some idea of each person’s thoughts, motives, etc.

It’s difficult to write about a book like this because so much was going on between the pages (all 500+!).  I will say, though, that I absolutely loved this novel.  I was actually sad when it ended … I wasn’t ready to part with it.  I thought about it for days after, and still think about it from time to time.  I don’t think it will ever leave me completely.

That being said, I would, without question, read it again in the future.  I would recommend it to others as well, though I would caution that there are some elements that may make some readers uncomfortable (a healthy dose of incest, for example).  It might not be for everyone, but for me, it was a beautifully written, intriguing novel with unforgettable characters. 

Fall on Your Knees more than deserves FIVE STARS.  Please read it immediately!

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